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Capital Requirements and Bailouts

Staff Report 554 | Published August 31, 2017

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Fabrizio Perri Assistant Director and Monetary Advisor
Capital Requirements and Bailouts


We use balance sheet data and stock market data for the major U.S. banking institutions during and after the 2007-8 financial crisis to estimate the magnitude of the losses experienced by these institutions because of the crisis. We then use these estimates to assess the impact of the crisis under alternative, and higher, capital requirements. We find that substantially higher capital requirements (in the 20% to 30% range) would have substantially reduced the vulnerability of these financial institutions, and consequently they would have significantly reduced the need of a public bailout.